The NFL season is about to hit December and the league is starting to separate the contenders from the pretenders in the playoff races. The NFC playoff picture isn’t clear yet — especially the NFC East race — with five weeks to play. The Minnesota Vikings are also in a race with the Arizona Cardinals for the final playoff spot in the conference.
The AFC still has nine teams in contention for playoff spots, as Tuesday’s Baltimore Ravens game against the Pittsburgh Steelers will certainly shake up the wild card picture. There still are plenty of division races to be decided as December is set to begin, along with the Steelers’ pursuit of a perfect regular season.
Below, you can find a division-by-division breakdown of the current standings, how each club performed in Week 12 and what they have next on the schedule.
Bills: Buffalo remained a game ahead of the Dolphins in the AFC East race thanks to beating the Chargers. The Bills are the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs, losing the tiebreaker to the Titans based on head-to-head meeting.
Remaining schedule: at 49ers, vs. Steelers, at Broncos, at Patriots, vs. Dolphins
Dolphins: The Dolphins returned to their winning ways with a convincing victory over the Jets. Miami currently is the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff race, a 0.5 game over the Ravens (who are scheduled to play Tuesday) and one game ahead of the Raiders. The Dolphins own a tiebreaker over the Colts based on best win percentage in conference games.
Remaining schedule: vs. Bengals, vs. Chiefs, vs. Patriots, at Raiders, at Bulls
Patriots: The Patriots still sit three games behind the Bills for the division and two games behind the Colts for the final playoff spot in the AFC. New England’s 11-year postseason streak is in jeopardy, even if the Patriots are still alive in the playoff hunt. They play two games in five days next week before closing with their final three games against the AFC East.
Remaining schedule: at Chargers, at Rams, at Dolphins, vs. Bills, vs. Jets
Jets: Another week the Jets are winless after New York was blown out by the Dolphins. The Jets are still in line for the No. 1 draft pick as they start 0-11 for the first time in franchise history.
Chiefs: The Chiefs sit 0.5 game behind the Steelers for the top seed in the AFC (Pittsburgh plays Baltimore Tuesday). They are 19-1 over the past calendar year as they compete for home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.
Raiders: The Raiders blew a golden opportunity to remain in the AFC playoff picture, but lost out on control of the final playoff spot with their loss to the Falcons. Vegas now sits four games behind the Chiefs in the AFC West and are currently the No. 9 seed in the AFC playoffs — one game behind the Dolphins and Colts for the final spot.
Remaining schedule: at Jets, vs. Colts, vs. Chargers, vs. Dolphins, at Broncos
Broncos: Denver didn’t have a chance against New Orleans starting a practice squad wide receiver…